FRANK KLAUSZ CHAT
February 23, 2004 [EDITED]


Ellis: Hello everyone, and welcome to the WoodCentral chatroom. Tonight we are priviliged to have Frank Klausz with us. Frank, of course, needs no introduction. He has been a well-known and well-respected cabinetmaker for many years, with many magazine articles, videos and demonstrations to his credit. He has run a thriving custom cabinetry business in north-central New Jersey for the past 30 years. Frank, welcome to WoodCentral.

ceyman: I saw his video for the first time today, unbelievable

Lester: evening Frank

Ellis: I would like to start off the conversation with a question for Frank...

Frank_Klausz: Hello Lester.

Ellis: So, Frank, here's a question everyone is waiting to ask: Which do you cut first, the pins or tails?

marctbroussard: Welcome Frank

Greg: Welcome Frank!

Frank_Klausz: I cut the pins first. But either way is good, whatever makes your boat float.

iowegan: good answer, the video I have, you cut the pins first and very, very fast!!!

Norm_Pirollo: Frank, do you use mostly a vacuum press for our veneering?

Ellis: Hang on, Norm. We'll get to that question. Frank is composing an answer to the dovetail question.

Ellis: Frank lost his connection.

Ellis: Meanwhile, do you have questions you would like me to ask him?

JohnP: be sure he knows how much we appreciate it that he has taken time to be with us.

Ellis: I just told him. Thanks, John

Moses_Y._: Mr. Klausz, do you feel confident that there will be a good future for young people who are currently training to do fine custom woodworking ? Do you feel that the imports from overseas will affect the high end custom markets?

Carole_in_VA: Uh oh...another identity problem. It would have to happen to our guest!

Frank_Klausz: I'm sorry about the connection problems

Ellis: Frank is here. We're going back to the dovetail question. Hang loose for a moment.

Lester: Mill click on the hammer and go to settings, click on hEART beat it will keep you from gitting kicked out

crackerjack: happens to everyone

Frank_Klausz: Back to dovetails - I researched dovetails for 10 years. I know how it is done in East Europe and I went to a cabinet maker in Newark, NJ from Guatemala

Frank_Klausz: I asked him to cut dovetails for me and he did it the same way as my Grand Father!

Frank_Klausz: I was the happiest kid alive. Rest my case.

Ellis: Okay, how about more questions for Frank....

fishbone: have dovetails been discussed?

crackerjack: yes

Mark_Valsi: Hello Frank

Norm_Pirollo: Hello Frank, do you use mostly vacuum press for veneering.. I'm wondering if there is any future in hammer veneering...

Frank_Klausz: Moses, to answer your question. There is a great future for young cabinet makers. I have a few in my shop right now - very talented, very hardworking. WIthin a few years they will be masters of the craft.

ceyman: Frank: Dou you have a text version of the material you cover in your FWW video?

Frank_Klausz: There has never been so much information out there about the craft - books, videos, shows, seminars, etc.

Frank_Klausz: We do not have a text version of the FWW vdieo.

Carole_in_VA: Frank, I am building my first beanch and someone suggested that I put a leg vise on? Do you find them useful?

Mark_Valsi: Frank, May I ask a question ? I saw you at the big Wood show in Aneheim last summer and you were using a Festool jig saw mounted upside down in some kind of a jig. Do you have a plan for that jig ? Thanks

Frank_Klausz: We use vaccum press for vaneering. Ther is not a bright future for hammer vaneering.

Norm_Pirollo: Thx Frank

Frank_Klausz: Mark - make it , just make it. It's not a jig, it's a piece of wood pushed onto the saw curve.

Frank_Klausz: Tom, the L/N takes 5 mins to sharpen and it's ready to go.

Fred_West: Joyze, nice accent Marc

Frank_Klausz: Right Mark!

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: Frank...On your website , page 4 of the gallery, the last picture is a wall unit I really like...shes a beauty !

Frank_Klausz: Hi Scott. Thank you for the compliment.

Tom: I was referring to your method of sharpening...everyone seems to have a preference

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: Sure.....That would take what ...a half a weekend to crank out ?

fishbone: Frank, where do you find inspiration for your work....

JohnP: .

Frank_Klausz: Fishbone - some good clients appreciates your work. RIght now I'm making a work bench. I just love it. Can't wait to go to the shop (especially when Ellis is there). He happends to be building his own bench in my shop. We are having a lot of fun!

Frank_Klausz: I did not leave.

Ellis: Frank, you say you use Waterlox finishes a lot. Why Waterlox? Which of their finishes do you use, and how do you apply them?

Fred_West: Ellis, how is your bench coming?

Ellis: It is beautiful.

Tom: Frank and Ellis...how big of a bench are you building?

marctbroussard: Will Frank #3 please stand up!

Ellis: Another couple days should do it.

Frank_Klausz: Waterlox is an idiot-proof finish. However, the idiots get smarter and screw up anyway. I am one of them.

Ellis: The bench is about 7 feet long.

Fred_West: That is great, I would love to see it.

Ellis: You will see it.

Tom: Ellis, are you going to post is pic when done?

Frank_Klausz: Waterlox penetrates the wood and brings out the most beutiful natural sheen.

Ellis: You bet.

Tom: grrrr...

Tom: very slow on the keys here

fishbone: Does Waterlox build up a surface film?

Tom: Ellis, what woods are you using for the bench? Closed base or open?

Frank_Klausz: Fishbone - Waterlox does build a surface film.

Fred_West: Gotta run guys, Frank thank you and of course thanks to Ellis.

Frank_Klausz: However, you need at least 10 coats for a film.

Frank_Klausz: Thank you Fred.

fishbone: Thanks.....

Ellis: Check out Frank's bench in Landis' Workbench Book. It is the same bench.

Ellis: Bye Fred.

AndyL: Frank has there been any design evolutions in the bench you are currently building or is it pretty much the same as the previous bench?

maurice: Frank, finishing question. In your finishing video during the segment on french polishing are you using shellac? It seems like during the narrative you called it polishing film. Is it a thinner cut of shellac or a different solution alltoghether

Frank_Klausz: It is the same bench, but exotic woods.

Tom: I'll do that...I think I have that book here now from the library

Brad: Hi Frank.. This is Brad from California, we were together at Marc Adams school a couple of years ago. Did Ellis tell you I was making your bench?

Frank_Klausz: Andy, no changes. I made it a little higher. The older I get, the higher I want my bench. I hate to bend for chiseling and I don't handplane much anymore - I have a big stroke-sander.

Frank_Klausz: Brad. Ellis mentioned you. He talked about your meeting.

Mark_Valsi: Frank, I have your video on the Dovetails. Very interesting and informative

Frank_Klausz: Maurice - I am using shellac in my video, but I would recommend to use the commercial padding finishes such as Quck Pad, Quilasol, Rapid Pad and so on.

Frank_Klausz: Mark - thanks for the compliment.

David_P: Frank, even though I haven't seen it, I know you have a video out on biscuit joinery. How often do you use a biscuit joiner these days and in what type of projects? thanks

Frank_Klausz: I've heard Zinsser is coming out with a new French polish finish and the advance press is good. I might try it as soon as I put my hand on some. I heard it from Michael Dresdner.

Brad: Well I am about 30% done so I have a way to go but I am really am having fun with it. I might be calling you if I run into any problems.

Lester: Frank on bench dogs: are round ones or square ones... which ones are better ?

Frank_Klausz: David - it's great if you want to make dirty cabinets I recommend it.

Frank_Klausz: Lester, there's no comparison - square ones and big heft metal dogs.

Frank_Klausz: Why? Sometimes you work cross the bench, round dogs will not hold it - they will spin out. You think my Grand Fater would chisel a square hole by hand if he could get away with a hole dirlled. I hope there aren't any more questions about bench dogs.

Lester: how would i attached the bench dog rail to my bench ?

Ellis: Frank meant "thirty" cabinets, just to clear up any confusion.

Frank_Klausz: Lester - on my bench the dog rail is glued. crackerjack: that was my next question Ellis

TiO: Frank, my chisel edges take quite a beating while clearing out the waste in my dovetails. I've tried sawing out the waste but I find paring to the line pretty difficult. Your chiselling technique is pretty awesome. Any special notes on your chisels?

Lester: thanks Frank

Tom: Ellis, I just took a look at the bench in Landis' book...very nice.

Tom: The one I am building is closer to the one Vandal is using in the previous chapter

Tom: I think I am going to like the closed base marctbroussard: Frank. It must be a pleasure to build something for your self. Does this happen enough to keep you sane? I imagine your time is at a premium and in demand.

glh: frank, i attended one of your demonstration workshops at a ww show last fall in Nashville, it was obvious that you really cared about teaching the craft, folks appreciate that and especially the time and attention you paid to the kids, thanks

Ellis: Frank's bench is the classic European design. I have another one like it in my shop now and the similarity is amazing.

Tom: My shop is a mess and under my current bench are things I haven't seen in years

Frank_Klausz: TiO - when you chisel try not to pry with the chisel and hit less hard - samller tap-tap and smaller chips. Keep the chisel sharp longer. Try lower angle.

AndyL: I have Landis' book on order. Should be here soon to further inspire

David_P: Frank why don't you have a show like David Marks? You would have quite a following of viewers , I'm sure!!!!! Have you ever been approached to do a television series on woodworking? Thanks Ellis, I was about to ask what he meant by that dirty cabinet statement, but you cleared it up.

Ellis: The only major difference is that Frank's bench has a shoulder vise instead of a face vise.

Frank_Klausz: glh, I'm glad you enjoyed the workshop

Frank_Klausz: David P - hey you are my producer, and I'd be happy to be the star of the show!

Lester: Thanks Frank and Ellis for the chat got to go do some wood cutting night.

John_Weber: Frank,

Frank_Klausz: Lester - it's great good luck making sawdust

Ellis: Bye Lester. I dunno, Frank. You might turn into a movie star.

John_Weber: Sorry (trigger happy), how high will the new bench be?

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: and how wide ?

Frank_Klausz: John Weber - the new bench is 36" high and I have a block underneath that is 3" which I put in or take out.

John_Weber: I guess I should also ask how tall you are if it's ok?

Carole_in_VA: You mean you can raise it to 39"?

glh: frank, i bought one of the Noden adjust-a-benches at the nashville show and really enjoy it, nice to be able to adjust height

Frank_Klausz: Scott - the total width is 37" at the should vise. You can look it up in the workbench book by Scott Landis. 18 1/2 is the major top plus the tool well is 8 1/4" including the back board.

Frank_Klausz: I am 6 feet tall.

TiO: Frank, thanks for the advice. By lower angle, I assume you mean grind the bevel to a lesser angle. Mine are at 25 degrees, maybe I should go to 20. And as for tapping the chisels, I have a big square faced carpenter's mallet that encourages my aggression, I'll have to work on that.

John_Weber: Thanks

Frank_Klausz: glh - the Noden bench is the greatest thing for hight adjustment - I have one and use it when I chisel dovetails.

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: hmmm.....Thanks ....I like it a little wider....about 42"

JohnP: .

Dustmaker.: .

Tom: Frank, is there a particular aspect of woodworking that you really just don't enjoy?

Frank_Klausz: TiO - go to 30 and make the angle steeper/blunter.

Tom: or is there a question that you just can't answer any more from sheer repetition?

Tom: other than the bench dog one, that is?

Frank_Klausz: Tom - I don't enjoy customers who don't know what the hell they want and anyone who says I like paint removering has to be examined by a physician (a crazy one).

Carole_in_VA: LOL

David_P: What are you favorite hand chisels (brand) and do you use one of those expensive tenoning jigs or do you favor the table saw and a good chisel.

Tom: LOL

Tom: that is funny...

Frank_Klausz: Tom - I really enjoy the chatroom. I wish I could type faster than lightning. You know how fast is that? Once in a while it strikes.

marctbroussard: 10-4 on the paint removal. Sanding also.

Carole_in_VA: I like sanding...makes me feel like I am in touch with the wood.

Carole_in_VA: Nuts I suppose!

Bjorn__Redmond_WA: Frank, you have a great humor ;)

marctbroussard: Good point Carol. Maybe I should expand my horizons.

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: Ellis.....Is there a stopping point timewise for these chats ?

Frank_Klausz: My favorite hand chisels are Marples - I have the beautiful boxwood ones. I also have a set of Stanley's from the 1930's. I recommend the Marples with the blue plastic handle, but you have to flatten the top (take off a 1/4" from the plastic so it is straight on the top).

m_rubes: Hi Marc, I enjoy handsanding, but power sanding can be boring/tedious.

Frank_Klausz: You can bang the hell out of them and they don't break.

Ellis: We go until we stop, Scott.

John_Weber: Frank, we had a chat on Modern Masters last week, Joel referred to you as one of the last classically trained - any comments?

Frank_Klausz: The American Woodworker magazine in the good old days gave them the "best value for the buck."

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: So I should tell the wife I'll be up at midnite eh ??......ha ha

Tom: John Weber...Modern Masters the TV program?

John_Weber: No traditional Master Craftsman

David_P: thanks frank

Brad: Hey Ellis, thanks again for your e-mail! How is your project coming?

Frank_Klausz: John - I feel fortunate. Everything I know someone taught me. I wish there would be trade schools in America. Some young folks would have an easier way to learn the craft.

Tom: John, you mean like Norm? Is he classically trained?

AndyL: Frank is there a preffered mallet or striking instrumentyou favor?Round?square?weight?

Ellis: Almost done, Brad. Another couple days. I don't really have as much time as I would like to work on the bench. Too many other things happening right now....

Carole_in_VA: Frank, do you think I am dreaming by starting woodworking at 55 years old? Is it too late? :o)

John_Weber: Tom, no a traditional apprentice type system

Ellis: That's a nice age, Carole. DAMHIKT

Frank_Klausz: AndyL - you have to hit the nail on the head. It can be done with a hammer, a hatchet, a sledgehammer, just hit it on the head! I like a small turn mallet.

Carole_in_VA: Yeah, but you started ww a long time ago, Ellis!

Tom: Carole, how long have you worked wood?

Frank_Klausz: Carole - it's never too late. Enjoy yourself. I meet more and more women woodworkers and they are more patient and learn as fast as any man. And they are much better looking to me than the guys.

Tom: how new are you to the craft/art/craft/art?

Carole_in_VA: Just learning...about 6 months

Ellis: That's a question that I will answer more thoughtfully on the messageboard, Carole...

wally_b: Frank, I enjoy your videos but am hungry for something in print. Do you have any plans for a tell-all book? I envision something that covers your training, early years, techniques, philosophies, humor, and of course lots of pictures of your work.

Tom: Carole, and in what area of woodworking are you interested?

Carole_in_VA: Furniture

Tom: case pieces?

Carole_in_VA: All types

Frank_Klausz: Wally - I am thinking to have 3 books. Apprenticeship, A Journeyman, and The Master.

Brad: I understand. That is the story of my life. I have the base all milled out and most of the top pieces milled out. I have the hand work to do and the dogs. But until April 15th I won't have much time to work on it. I will get you some picture when I am finished.

Frank_Klausz: I do not know when it's going to happen, but it will.

wally_b: Frank, great!!

John_Weber: Sign me up, that sounds like a wonderful series

Norm_Pirollo: Frank, maybe you can write a book like "Adventures in Wood Finishing" by George Frank

Tom: Carole, what have you built so far and in what style do you work?

Frank_Klausz: Andy Rae will be my editor, Rick Mastelli the DVD producer.

Tom: Frank, that sounds like a winner here as well

Bjorn__Redmond_WA: Wow, I look forward to that...

Frank_Klausz: Hi Michael.

Dresdner: Hi

JohnP: Carole, an older person once wanted to go to law school, but said, "In 5 years I'll be 50 years old." His friend asked, "How old will you be in 5 years if you don't go to law school?"

Greg: Have to close, Thank You Frank, Good night all.....

Frank_Klausz: Thanks for joining, Michael. There are too many finishing questions. You take them from here on.

John_Weber: I get the Woodworking at Home DVD, it's a wonderful media for woodworking "stuff"

Frank_Klausz: Thank you Greg.

Dresdner: JohnP -- That wisdom also appeared in a Dear Abby column many years ago

AndyL: I think the next book is already destined to be a best seller

Ellis: Great one, JP

Frank_Klausz: That's a great answer John P.

marctbroussard: Frank, if you had the time to build anything you want what comes immediatly to mind?

Norm_Pirollo: Frank, is veneering more prevalent or common in Europe?

JohnP: Dresdner, may be where I got it.

Frank_Klausz: Marc - just another lowboy. Queen Anne of course from American Black Walnut.

Carole_in_VA: Very true John!

Dresdner: JohnP -- I'm sure it has been around the block a few times, but it is wonderful advice all the same

Frank_Klausz: Norm - some fine furniture makers do more veneering, but I don't think anyone does more than Frank Pollaro.

Tom: Frank, the lowboy would have what regional stylings or characteristics?

Carole_in_VA: Tom, my first piece was a walnut queen anne footstool. Now I am building my bench.

Tom: would you base it on an existing piece?

Tom: Carole, that sounds great. What type of bench is it going to be? Sizes?

Frank_Klausz: Tom - check out my lowboy on my website. It's metropolitan and New England mixed style with a big overhang.

Carole_in_VA: 60x30 and 34" high. No well.

David_P: Frank , my father-in-law is from Austria and he says the same thing that you do. If we had trade schools in America for the young, things would be much different. He chose to be a cabinet maker at a young age and was very well versed in his trade long before he was 20. He is the first to admit that you are always learning and know one knows everything, but he had a great start!!!!!!! If you keep it to yourself, you'll lose it......If you share it, you'll have it the rest of your life. It is so true, and I enjoy sharing the little that I know with those who inquire and thank you for doing more than your share Frank and Ellis.

Tom: I'll do that....Ellis has a link to your site. It probably got a million hits in the last 2 days

Carole_in_VA: Our high schools here don't even have basic shop classes anymore.

Tom: Carole, what vise configuation are you planning?

Dresdner: Carole -- not here either

Tom: Carole, few here in Ohio too...shops that is

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: That would work if we had more trade schools and less Gameboys for sure......

Tom: too dangerous, too expensive and no one wants to think we're training for manual labor

David_P: that is so true Scott

Tom: everyone is going to college....

AndyL: My sonis 7 and the middle school currently has a wood shop..hope it is there in about 6-7 years

Carole_in_VA: The County audtioned off a lot of the tools from the defunct shops this winter. Sad.

Ellis: Any further questions for Frank?

Tom: In Dayton at one time there were about 150 shop teachers (my dad was one) today there are less than 10

Norm_Pirollo: Carole, that's ok.. the manual tradespeple will be raking it in when there are fewer and fewer left of them. It's already happening...

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: Im just trying to promote the *trade* side of things, since it is still the future and its getting harder to get good and even average labor anymore....and I have a long way to go before retirement

marctbroussard: Frank, what got you started in woodworking.

JohnP: I must go. Frank, thanks for taking time to talk to us.

Carole_in_VA: Frank, any one favorite piece of safety advice for a new woodworker?

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: Frank......Im curious what a majority of your main power tools are...?

Tom: Frank, could you describe your workshop some (unless this is one of those topics you dislike) size, wood storage, bdft on hand and species, machinery--what is most useful

Frank_Klausz: Carole - always be careful. Common sense - each time you start the machine talk to yourself: don't do something foolish, I don't want to get hurt. Work on the machines with great respect. If the wood pinches, keep pushing or shut off the saw which I can do with my knee. Whatever safety device you can put on use it - overhead covers, splitter, push sticks always at your fingertips.

David_P: so long and thanks!!!!

Frank_Klausz: Scott - there are too many to list. You name it I have it. Nothing computerized , all old fashioned good machines.

Ellis: Bye David

Tom: Carole, I think those monologues you have with yourself are the best things to do...

Tom: "Is this safe?" "What is going to happen if...?" " Is there a safer way to do...?"

Carole_in_VA: I really need to get over my fear of the tablesaw. :o( I am getting better though.

Carole_in_VA: I need to quit reading those accident reports!

Ellis: Be careful not to talk yourself into a problem, though.

Bjorn__Redmond_WA: Frank, what skill do you think a beginning hobby woodworker should really master?

Tom: Carole, lose the fear, but keep the healthy respect

Frank_Klausz: Tom - read in Scott Landis' book (the workbench book). If I describe it to you, people would misunderstand - I'm bragging or showing off. "I have a beautiful shop." Ask Ellis he's working in it the last couple of days.

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: hmmm....ok.....Do you believe the TS is the heart of the workshop as many say ?

Ellis: Frank's hospitality is legendary.

glh: frank, i've noticed that you still have all your fingers, i'll follow your advice

marctbroussard: Carole, don't ever get over that fear. Stay scared and then develope confidence to go with it.

Frank_Klausz: I never see a grown man have so much fun cutting those big dovetails. We are building a real bench, you know, not a tootsie toy!

Tom: Frank, you think Ellis would tell me the truth? Or is he going to get in a dig or two?

Ellis: He ain't saying. :-)

Frank_Klausz: Bjorn - I would master hand planing, sawing straight lines, just one afer another. If someone asks what you are making, just making shavings, but I'm having a lot of fun.

Tom: Ellis, I don't want to start something here (-:

Brian_Sullivan :Shavings - Thats what I do best :)

Carole_in_VA: This sounds crazy but sometimes I just plane scrap wood just because I love to do it! LOL

Frank_Klausz: Scott - I believe the TS is the heart of the workshop.

Tom: Carole, that isn't crazy, that is woodworking

Norm_Pirollo: Carole, somebody posted a photo of a suit of armour as a safety device on the MessageBoard.. I still laugh when I think about it ::teeth ::

Frank_Klausz: Carole - that is great!

AndyL: Not crazy Carole,I find it relaxing and an achievment of learning to sharpen and tune

Tony_Allison: Carole, I think that is called practice. Which is something I need to do more of

Carole_in_VA: I think sometimes I would like going neanderthal rather than using power tools.

Tom: Carole, as long as we are using well-worn quotes here, remember Vince Lombardi on practicing

Frank_Klausz: Alright. Good night everyone. I have to work tomorrow. I had a great time. Thanks and good night.

Carole_in_VA: Thanks a bunch Frank!

glh: thanks frank

John_Weber: Thanks Frank, come again.

marctbroussard: Thanks Frank.

Brian_Sullivan :Thanks Frank.

Norm_Pirollo: Thank You Frank!

AndyL: Thank You , Frank for taking the time to join us.

Tony_Allison: Thanks Frank enjoyed it

JayStPeter: Just observed tonight, thanks Frank

Tom: Thank you Frank

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: Thqnks for tellin it how it is.....

crackerjack: night

Tom: it was time well-spent

Brad: Thanks Frank

William: Thank you, Frank

B_Lemon: Thanks, Frank

wally_b: Thank you Frank.

crackerjack: Please come again

Moses_Y._: Thanks Frank; wish you the best of luck with your books!

Scott_in_Eastern_Iowa: G'Nite everyone

Ellis: Thank you all for coming. Frank had a great time and I'm sure we can prevail on him to return sometime.

BobS: Thank you!